By Jack Batson
Special to RDR Sports
I am Jack Batson, a teacher and coach for about 50 years here in Roswell. As we come to this Thanksgiving season, I would like to share some things for which I am most thankful.
The thing of which I am most proud and thankful is my immediate family. My wife Jane, who passed away about six years ago, was my Rock and I would’ve never been able to do all of this without her support and help.
She helped found and organize innumerable groups around the city and county to help those less fortunate. My son John participated in band and athletics while he was here in the Roswell schools, and is now a band director in the state of Texas. He is now a regional director for All District and All Region Bands in Central Texas. He is also the director of the Temple College Band.
My daughter Shannon was always a helper, whether it was at the annual health fair, or any of the sports, which I coached. While in high school, she helped found the NOTE Council, which was a group to help find musical instruments for those students who wanted to be in band but could not afford them. She now works with an international organization called Orphan Outreach, which funds orphanages around the world and organizes programs to help.
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When I came to Roswell in 1972 to teach elementary school and coach, I was blessed to come to Parkview Elementary School. I am thankful that this many years later, many of my students remember some of my sayings and stories that they say helped them through their life. One of my sayings was, “I can’t is not spoken here,” and the other, “If you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Many of my athletes remember another of my sayings, which was, “Fear no one, but respect everyone.” I borrowed this from John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, who I got to meet and talk to a couple of times.
One unique blessing that I have received is that I got to travel to Moscow, in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, during the height of the Cold War. I got to see firsthand what communism was like, and the one thing that I learned from that is that the “regular” people were many times, just like you and me, except they spoke a different language.
I have taught from kindergarten through college and have coached nine sports in my time here in Roswell. I also helped start a group called Boca Grande Track Club, which was the only girls’ track club outside of Albuquerque in the mid-1970s. I am so thankful for all the athletes who became part of Boca Grande Track Club, and because of that, became part of my “family.”
I am also thankful for what part music has been in my life, starting in junior high choir, through high school and college, and now singing with different choirs in town. When I was in high school and college, if someone had told me, “One day, you’re going to sing in Carnegie Hall,” there’s no way I would’ve believed that. I’ll always be thankful to my choir directors during my younger years, and lately, John Fuss, who gave me the opportunity to go with a group and sing in New York City.
One of the Psalms tells me what to do: Let us come before God with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
I would like to thank the thousands of students and athletes, with whom I have been able to interact and instruct — I have also learned from them.
Happy Thanksgiving Roswell.